Notre Dame Cathedral, known as Notre Dame de Paris in French, is one of the landmarks of Paris. Its picture with the two towers is almost always present in tourist brochures. Notre Dame is situated on a small island on the river Seine, called Île de la Cité. Since the French capital was founded by its first inhabitants right on this island, Kilometer Zero of the city is situated in front of the cathedral.
Notre Dame is built in a Gothic style. The construction works started in 1163 and it is difficult to say exactly when they stopped, since the cathedral saw continuous improvements. Most of it was ready however somewhere around 1240 – 1250. It may seem surprising, but the cathedral was actually colored when built, however the colors worn off during centuries. The largest bell has more than 13 tons.
The Archaeological Crypt of Notre Dame is not to be missed. The entrance is situated in front of the cathedral, but it is not so visible so you need to look for it carefully. It hosts a nice amount of ruins. The crypt is generally open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Mondays and some public holidays. The current admission price for an adult is €5.
Notre Dame is open to the public every day between 8 a.m. and 6.45 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays you can visit it until 7.15 p.m. The access is free of charge.
One of the most popular activity for tourists in Paris is to climb the tower of Notre Dame. There are 387 steps and no elevator, but even so the waiting queue can be pretty long. Go there early to avoid long waiting times. The entry to the tower is situated on the left side of the building. The visiting hours start at 10 a.m. and end from 5.30 p.m. in some winter months to 11 p.m. in some summer months. The current price is €8.50 for an adult.
If you are using public transportation, it is the easiest to take the underground until one of the stations Cité or Saint-Michel on line 4. There are several other underground, bus and even a train station close by.